We can all relate to the Match.com Satan commercial when it comes to 2020. From the obvious human impact with millions lost to our industry /hobby... the travel space with cancelled plans, lost trips, lost jobs and airlines going under.
So it's easy to wonder Is elite status worth it in 2021? This is an excellent question and there is no easy answer; it depends on both your projected travel patterns for 2021 and your risk tolerance in this covid-19 era as well as the perceived benefits that you have of elite status.
Airlines gave almost all flyers a free-pass in 2020 extending status for another year so now it's time to earn that status. Delta and American Airlines gave extended rollovers to what are called MQM or EQM , the Medallion or Elite qualifying miles but still require the spend requirements for 2021.
Here is where EQD / MQD Consultations come into play: Do you have a tons of flown miles but low EQD or MQDs "Spend"? We can propose certain trips that maximize the “spend” at the lowest price.
One of the most common questions we receive at PremiumCabin.Deals is how do I obtain status at the lowest possible cost?
In the case of oneworld the cheapest status is obtained with British Airways through their Executive Club. The requirements to have mid-tier or one-world Sapphire status can easily be obtained and at an economical rate using American Airlines First class flights. This status which would require the equivalent of 50,000 flown miles plus $6,000 of spend with American Airlines can be obtained depending on the routing from as little as 800 GBP if based in the UK to $413 on the West Coast from San Jose to Los Angeles or vice-versa with the addition of four British Airways flights. Here is an example from the East Coast from New York/Washington to Raleigh earning tons of Tier Points.
There are many affordable paid business and first class tickets available right now especially when one is able to be flexible and arbitrage both routings and origin destination cities this allows you to travel for instance from Las Vegas to Los Angeles or San Jose in the Bay Area in First class for just $80 around each way and this will usually be a short one hour flight can be leveraged to have three flight segments which would give you 1/5 of the way of the required status with British Airways which is what we call travel arbitrage or travel hacking in effect obtaining status at the lowest possible cost for you.
BA status does not give you upgrades on American Airlines which is one common goal for flyers but it does grant lounge access and priority boarding.
In the case of SkyTeam up until December 31st the easiest way was with Air France FlyingBlue as they had a double XPs promotion which enabled you to obtain status at a very low rate. Overall the secret is how they reward transborder flights. The FlyingBlue program rewards individuals who fly in business class across borders, so a flight from Brussels to Amsterdam will give you more miles than a flight from JFK to Los Angeles and while it seems absurd it gives you the ability to travel hack and presents smart flyers with many opportunities.
One way to obtain status is through what is called the Denmark or Oslo connection this involves departing from a European city connecting in both Paris and Amsterdam before arriving at your destination this could be obtained for between 500 to 700 euros depending on your point of origin. We have a few articles showing the earnings potential from various European countries we selected dates in September and August 2021 when hopefully things are closer to normal with the introduction of the vaccine and reduced border controls. This routing would give you 90 XPs which is almost enough for Silver status and two more of these routes would give you Gold status which is mid-tier SkyTeam status.
Europe is in the midst of a third Corona wave and many borders have now closed for international flying and have limited the abilities of individuals to travel between countries.
We advise towards strategic bookings starting in 2021 as there might be some more certainty as to the benefits of status as well as the abilities to actually fly.